Cheyenne Stables and Mac Nichol'sMadefromlucky, out of the shadow of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, rallied nicely from off the pace to capture the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II)Aug. 1 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. Watch Video
With Joe Bravo riding for trainer Todd Pletcher, Madefromlucky captured his second grade II stakes. In May he won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old colt by Lookin At Lucky , out of the Pulpit mare Home From Oz was bred in Kentucky by RMF Thoroughbreds.
"He's a special horse," Nichol said. "We've known that for a long time. We were looking forward to him running a big race today, because we thought this race would suit him and it didn't hurt that we didn't have to worry about American Pharoah."
The latter is entered in the Aug. 2 William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park for his first start since the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby drew a field of 11 that was reduced to nine after the scratches of Stanford and Tekton, who both raced in the July 31 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Bettors settled on the right horse, as Madefromlucky was the slight 5-2 choice in a contentious field.
In a race that appeared loaded with speed, it was Cleveland Gold Cup winner Alliseeisgold who ended up with the lead—and he kept it through surprisingly easy fractions of :24.19 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.67 for a half-mile, and 1:13.01 for six furlongs. He was tracked by Bent On Bourbon and Thirtysilverpieces, while the eventual winner sat is sixth, about six lengths off the leader.
Despite the slow pace, the top three began to fade under pressure on the far turn. Souper Colossal and second choice Iron Fist rallied in tandem with Madefromlucky, and those three blew by into the lane. Souper Colossal grabbed a short advantage after a mile in 1:38.66, but Madefromlucky wore him down to win by 1 1/2 lengths. War Story, last most of the way, closed well for third, a half length behind Souper Colossal. Iron Fist was fourth.
The final time was 1:51.40 on a track rated fast. Madefromlucky paid $7.20 to win.
"Isn't Todd Pletcher the best?" Bravo yelled to crowd as he entered the winner's circle aboard Madefromlucky, who now has four wins, three seconds, and a third in 10 starts for earnings of $875,200.
"I was calm in knowing I had the best horse today," Bravo said. "He's such a relaxed, cool horse. You know this game. Let's just keep him sound and healthy."
Nichol said Madefromlucky wasn't 100% in the Belmont Stakes, but had rebounded well.
"When he's at the top of his game, he's full of himself," he said. "That's how he was when he won (the Peter Pan)."
"It's a real thrill," Dobson said. "I'm just thankful to be part of the horse. I'm very pleased with the job Todd Pletcher and his team has done with him, and Joe Bravo gave him a tremendous ride. Joe actually described the race beforehand and he followed it to a T."
The Derby was one of nine races on an all-stakes program at Mountaineer Saturday afternoon. The total pari-mutuel handle of $3,003,673 was up from $2,925,034 for nine races on the program last year.